- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2008

AN-NAHAR (LEBANON)

Israel: Hezbollah can hit Tel Aviv

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that Hezbollah has tripled its capabilities from 14,000 rockets before the 2006 war to 42,000 rockets today, some of which can reach Dimona, where the nuclear reactor is located in southern Israel.

He told a meeting in the Israeli Parliament that Hezbollah’s rockets also can reach Tel Aviv, Ashkelon and Beersheba. Mr. Barak renewed his threats to Lebanon, saying if Hezbollah merges in the state, it puts the whole country and its infrastructure in danger in the event of another war with Israel.

AL-WATAN (QATAR)

Iran says it stopped Israel spy ring

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Mohammed Ali Jaafari, said members of a spy ring linked to the Israeli Mossad intelligence service have been arrested, claiming they were seeking to collect information on Iran’s nuclear program and its military to pass on to the Israelis.

He also said the suspects had admitted they were trained in Israel to carry out attacks and assassinations inside Iran.

AZ-ZAMAN (LONDON/IRAQ)

Court lifts ban on travel to Israel

An Iraqi court yesterday gave back to member of Parliament Mithal al-Alousi his parliamentary immunity, which Parliament had removed to prosecute him for visiting Israel.

The court ruled there is no clear law that bans Iraqis from visiting Israel, other than a provision stamped on old Iraqi passports under the former regime of Saddam Hussein that has been removed from the new passports.

AL-ITTIHAD (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)

Insufficient aid reaching Gaza

For the first time in 20 days, Israeli authorities allowed a limited amount of food and fuel aid to enter the Gaza Strip, but the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said it was not enough.

UNRWA spokesman in Gaza Christopher Gunness said the agency needs 15 truckloads of food and other supplies, such as schoolbooks, every day to be able to work normally. Meanwhile, Egypt sent 400 additional policemen to the Rafah border with Gaza for fear Gaza’s residents will try to breach the border into Egypt looking for food.

AL-MASRY AL-YOUM (EGYPT)

Muslims, Christians clash in Cairo

Thirteen people, including policemen, were injured in stone-throwing clashes that erupted between Muslims and Christians on Sunday night in Ain Shams in western Cairo, and eight people were arrested.

The confrontation was sparked when residents heard that Christians were praying inside a sealed factory - and rumors held that it had been turned into a church - near a mosque. Muslim and Christian spiritual leaders rushed to the area with security commanders to try to calm the situation and find a solution to the crisis.

AL-HAYAT AL-JADEEDA (WEST BANK)

Elections eyed for early next year

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking Sunday at a Central Committee meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization that elected him president of the Palestinian state, said if reconciliation talks with Hamas failed, he would have to decree presidential and legislative elections early next year.

Meanwhile, an Israeli intelligence report warned that Mr. Abbas “would politically disappear,” the Palestinian Authority would collapse, and Hamas would grow if Mr. Abbas’ term ends on Jan. 9. The report recommended that Israel prevent Palestinian elections, “even if that leads to differences with Washington and the international community.”

AS-SAFIR (LEBANON)

Israeli intelligence backs Syria peace

The Israeli intelligence service has urged the government to quickly reach a peace agreement with Damascus, saying peace with Syria will lead to peace with Lebanon and weaken the alliance led by Iran.

It also recommended that Israel support the moderate camp in Lebanon before the parliamentary elections next May, but not at the expense of Israel’s interests. The intelligence service said Israel stands practically alone in the face of Iran’s strategic military threats.

AL-THAWRA (SYRIA)

Iraq’s neighbors seek border control

The participants at the third meeting of the security cooperation and coordination committee of Iraq’s neighbors have rejected the use of Iraq and its neighboring countries for any military or terrorist attacks against each other.

They affirmed that controlling their borders was a common responsibility of all countries involved and vowed to continue their security cooperation and coordination.

AL-RIYADH (SAUDI ARABIA)

Somali militants oppose piracy

Somali Islamic militias, known as the Shebab movement, urged pirates who have been holding the Saudi-owned supertanker MV Sirius Star since seizing it on Nov. 15 to release it or face “armed action.”

Sheik Ahmed, the Shebab spokesman in the Harardhere region where the ship was taken, warned that if the pirates “want peace, it is better for them to release the tanker.”

Compiled by Sana Abdallah of the Middle East Times

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